Las Vegas Airport Security Camera Technicians Arrested On Theft Charges

Time and time again, despite all the things surveillance cameras can accomplish, the technology is only as good as the employees tasked to run and maintain the equipment.

Case in point, three employees at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas (where the Security Products staff will be next week for ISC West) were arrested this week on charges of stealing electronic gear from the facility and tampering with a surveillance camera.

What did the technicians do at the airport? Among other things, they just happened to install and repair cameras.

The three -- Matthew Charniga, Joseph Cordova and supervisor Chad Norton -- were part of the airport’s Information Systems Division. Charniga and Cordova have been fired and Norton is on paid administrative leave.

Along with other maintenance tasks, the three routinely worked on cameras outside the airport or in the baggage claim areas. But thankfully, the trio did not have access to cameras at the passenger checkpoints or secure areas.

Theft charges stem from allegations that the three allegedly used airport purchase orders to by electronic equipment for personal use. But, in the course of the investigation, authorities found that a security camera watching over an airport building had been tampered with and video had been erased.

And this wasn’t the first run in with the law for Charniga. He pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in 1994 and received an eight-year suspended sentence and five years probation.

How did a convicted felon get a job at an airport? Easy, McCarran officials said TSA rules state an applicant can’t have a “disqualifying” crime within the last 10 years. Charinga was hired in 2006.

Can’t say I’ll sleep any easier knowing a convicted felon isn’t allowed to vote or legally buy a gun for life, but can still get a job at an airport.

Posted by Brent Dirks on Apr 01, 2011

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